Author: Remember, Ms. and Mr. are filling in for "-ssi" and such. I love the exchanges between Mi Hi and Cheri haha. This one's kind of long since...
Dae-Hyun busted back into the dressing room, fretting hysterically.
"It's okay, it's okay," he lied to himself while Cheri entered, closing the door behind her. "You only stumbled 4 times, messed up the lyrics 5 times, and faced your back to the camera during half the song!" He paused, on the verge of tears. "We're ruined! It's over! Done for, I tell you, done for!"
"Who cares?" Cheri shouted, taking off the female clothes and unpinning the extensions so that he was Jung-Hwa again. He threw these items to the ground and gave them a nasty look. "Who cares about all this dumb singing stuff? I don't!"
He pulled on a T-shirt and hopped into some jeans before plopping down at the vanity mirror and glaring at the broken camera he could see in the reflection. He then glared at himself.
"It's so stupid!" he yelled, taking out his phone and changing a contact from 'Choi Kwan' to 'That stupid stupid stupid…' it went on as he shouted out loud, "He's stupid stupid stupid…" and so on with snot and tears pouring out uncontrollably.
Jung-Hwa got into the driver's seat of the car and looked to his side. Nothing. Just an empty seat. Silly Jung-Hwa. What were you expecting?
Jung-Hwa slurped up the rest the noodles and sighed contentedly, but frowned because they didn't taste as good as usual. Maybe it was because he was just staring at the back of another chair. Had things always been so quiet?
The streets were teeming with shopping people. Boys put their arms around their girlfriends. Girls held onto their boyfriends. Guys joked with their buddies and girls giggled with their pals. Everyone was headed somewhere, coming and going with bags of purchases in their hands, chatting, laughing, smiling. Jung-Hwa wandered about, keeping lookout for any new clothes. Then he spotted something more interesting! Messy dark hair, lame rectangular glasses, slightly muscular build, and tan skin? He hurried over.
"Mr. Kwan!" he hollered happily, turning the person around.
"Who?" The guy retorted, having more unappealing features than Kwan like a pig nose, lazy eye, and hairy mole on his chin.
Jung-Hwa backed up, dejected. He darted away, mortified and angst-ridden.
"Cheri's become dull lately hasn't she?" Some boys beside Jung-Hwa conversed while on the train.
"Maybe she got dumped by that guy rumor said she was dating?" One boy suggested elatedly.
"He was a no-name anyway, right?"
"Yeah, hopefully that's what happened 'cause it'll be good for us. What's the fun in it if she's already got a guy?"
"Totally. Like if they did it, that'd suck. I'd like to think she's a virgin, so—"
"You guys are sick!" Jung-Hwa stood up and screamed. "You shouldn't talk about a girl like that! If you want to say those things then say it to my—!" He stopped. Everyone was staring at him. What was he saying?
"Dude, what's your problem, man?" one of the boys retorted.
"Yeah, you retarded or something?"
The train came to a halt and the doors whirred open. On their way out, the boys purposefully shouldered Jung-Hwa, knocking him to the ground.
"He's probably one of those crazy sasaeng fans or something!"
There on the floor, Jung-Hwa curled up into a ball. "Mr. Kwan, you would've never let that happen, you dummy. You big frickin' dummy."
"Oh, Cheri~" Dae-Hyun whistled, coming into the dressing room with a porcelain plate donned with a silver dome, hiding its contents. "I have a surprise for you."
"I don't care," Cheri groaned, head on the counter of her vanity mirror. Everything had been so boring lately, the life in her had been sucked out.
"It's Choi Kwan!" Dae-Hyun exclaimed causing Cheri to leap out her seat and race over, looking about.
"Where?" she said. "Where? Where?"
"Just kidding! I have something even better," Dae-Hyun laughed. He uncovered the plate to reveal Kimchi bokkeumbap. "It's your favorite!"
"Oh," Cheri grunted. "Awesome, thanks…" she then went back to her seat and placed her head on the vanity counter once again.
"You're not even going to eat it?" Dae-Hyun asked as he placed the food on a coffee table before sitting on one of the two couches in the pink room. "I worked really hard on this!"
"I'm sorry, Dae-Hyun," Cheri breathed. "I'm just not in the mood."
Dae-Hyun's brow furrowed as he watched his precious star be completely miserable. Not only was it affecting her routines, but it was downing his spirits. He heaved a great big sigh. Fine, he told himself. He knew what he must do.
He stood and walked towards the door. "I'm going to make a quick call, I'll be right back."
"Whatever," Cheri replied apathetically.
All the lights were off and a pile of used tissues (doused in a variety of fluids) sat on the floor. Kwan reeked to high heaven since he hadn't left the apartment, much less, his bed in a good few days. Sang Kyu had called a couple of times, worried sick, but Kwan would only say, "I'm fine" then burst out in tears and begin bumbling unintelligible nonsense. Sang Kyu would then hang up because though he loves his buddy, he doesn't play that bullshit. In just a few weeks, Kwan had gone from excited to on top of the world to the most depressed 20 year-old in Korea. But he was doing the right thing, wasn't he? He had been selfish up to this point, staying around Cheri just because it was his only chance and he wanted to. Wasn't it making everyone around him miserable? How cruel of him to do that to Dae-Hyun and Cheri. How arrogant of him to destroy her career just because of his stupid little desire? He needed to get real and head back to reality. And he had genuinely – no – foolishly believed that he could stay beside his idol and get her to fall for him. He was adult. He needed to stop being so stupid.
His phone rang several times before he gathered up the energy to answer.
"Mom," he said. "For the last time, I told you, I'm not sending you and dad porn movies. I'm—"
"What? No, it's Dae-Hyun!" the manager exasperatedly whispered into the payphone.
"Mr. Dae-Hyun?" Kwan bound out of bed. "Is something wrong with Cheri?"
"Um… yeah… Yeah! There is something wrong!" Dae-Hyun said, secretly smirking. There went the manipulative side of him again. "You need to hurry to SBK TV station as fast as you can!"
"I'm on my way!" Kwan said, snapping the phone closed and going to actually take a shower.
"You're lucky I have a broad waiting for me on this side of town," Sang Kyu droned as he dropped Kwan off outside the studio. The lovestruck man wasted no time rushing out the car and into the building. The player scoffed at his friend's actions, smiling as he drove off.
Frantically running through the halls, Kwan spotted Dae-Hyun and sprinted over.
"Where is she? What's wrong?" Kwan asked, panting.
"In here, hurry!" Dae-Hyun said, opening the door to the dressing room and pushing Kwan inside.
From there, Kwan stood there unsure of what to do, then said, "Cheri? Cheri, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fi—" she began to reply, but then her eyes shot open and she leapt out her seat. She gawked at Kwan for a moment then strut over and slapped the taller man. "You friggin' asshole! You worthless piece of dumb! You moronic excuse for a human being! You dorky loser with no future other than the demented one you make up in your head! You stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid idiot!"
She bit her lip, trying to control the happy tears leaking from her eyes. She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed firmly.
"I don't care what happens, next time, you can't leave me like that unless I give you permission, got it?"
Kwan didn't hug back at first, but soon felt too delighted not to, gently cuddling into her hold. Had he messed up? There were so many previous times with Cheri where he thought 'there's no happiness better than this' and each time she proved him wrong. How many different ways could one smile? How many times? He wanted smile as many ways as possible with her as much as he could.
She drew away from the hug and wiped her face clear. "How selfish of you to do something like that! Think of other people sometimes too!" she told him before heading out the door to begin her show. Kwan could only laugh as he thought, There's no happiness better than this. It had been her best and most energetic performance in a long time.
"Cheri's back in the headlines with new photos arising," the Entertainment reporter said on the television of the hotel. Sang Kyu sat up out of bed with wide eyes. As a series of pictures displayed on the screen, his jaw dropped and a cigarette slipped out his mouth. "In these latest images, Cheri's manager is seen guiding a young man into her dressing room. It is unconfirmed if this is the same man from the other photographs, though as of now, the figures from each photo do bear a semblance."
That's Kwan! Sang Kyu thought while a woman's arm laid over his waist.
"…latest images, Cheri's manager is seen guiding a young man," the female anchor said on Chung Ae's TV screen causing her to spit out her dinner.
"That sneaky bastard! Getting that close to Cheri!" the young girl cursed. "Well… good luck, Mr. Kwan!"
"What are we supposed to do now?" Dae-Hyun shouted, treading to and fro in his office as Yun and Kwan sat in front of his desk, playing with a Rubik's Cube.
"Move it this way," Yun demanded.
"But if I do this, there's more blue over here," Kwan protested, twisting the toy this way and that.
Dae-Hyun slammed his hands on his desk causing the troublemaking pair to jump.
"Are you two listening?" he hollered. "This is serious!"
"I don't see what the problem is," Yun said, crossing her legs. "My real fans have been loyal thus far and no magazine or entertainment show has risked saying that the person in the pictures is definitely a lover of any sort. In fact, most netizens are denying it!"
"Yeah, so can't Cheri and I still hang out?" Kwan asked, the Rubik's Cube being snatched from his hands as Yun went to work on it.
"Yes," Dae-Hyun hissed. "The both of you can still 'hang out,' the issue at hand is Cheri's popularity! While true Cheribombs have stuck by and continued to support Cheri, there has still been a noticeable drop in popularity! TV programs featuring Cheri have seen a dip in views and singles that were being rapidly e-purchased have hit an unprecedented slow in sales!"
He laid out papers for them to look at. "It is around this time that the public's interest in a new idol dies down, but these numbers are much more drastic than what's usual especially for the top rookie, Cheri!"
"Top rookie?" Yun chimed happily.
"Yes, you were the top rookie!" Dae-Hyun said.
"I was?" Yun repeated sourly. "Who is it now?"
Dae-Hyun sighed. His answer made both Kwan and Yun grimace, the unfinished Rubik's Cube diving to the carpeted floor.
"Lee Mi Hi!"
Jung-Hwa's hands were in his pockets as he walked into HOT DISH with Kwan.
"I hate that bitch!" he complained as they sat at their usual table. "She's the only slut on this planet who I despise with all my might. She's constructed from pure bitchiness and whore parts."
Kwan snorted at these insults, trying to stop himself from cracking up.
"What's so funny?" Jung-Hwa barked.
"It's just…" Kwan laughed. "You can really sound like a girl sometimes when you say that stuff about other chicks!"
Jung-Hwa's face flushed. "Don't say 'other chicks,' you slow douchebag! I'm not a girl!"
"Haha, yeah, I forget that sometimes though," Kwan said with a grin.
This stung in Jung-Hwa's heart. If I were a girl, he thought, If I were Yun…
"Come up with anything, Dae-Hyun?" Yun asked as she practiced dance moves without her choreographer in the training room. Kwan sat in the back, still fussing with that dumb Rubik's Cube.
Dae-Hyun leaned against the room's entrance coolly.
"Nothing so far," he said. "If we tell the press that this isn't a romantic interest and just a friend, it'll confirm that the person in each photo is the same guy and they'll definitely think that you're dating. They may not state that he's your boyfriend, but journalists have a way of twisting words around to make the masses infer that that's the situation! On the other hand, lying and saying the pictures feature different guys could either diffuse rumors or make them worse with people labeling Cheri as a hussy!"
Yun ceased her practice and with half-lidded eyes, turned to Dae-Hyun with a straight face.
"Dae-Hyun," she said seriously. "Do you ever think about just giving up?"
"What?" Dae-Hyun gasped. "N-No! We've come too far!"
"But this is my sister's dream isn't it?" Yun said. "I'm not the one who ever wanted to do this and it's not like I hate it, but…!" she smiled at Kwan. "There are some things you shouldn't give up for someone else's dream."
"And there are times when you shouldn't give up at all, Cheri!" Kwan said, standing and throwing down the Rubik's Cube. Okay, he didn't throw it down, it actually just slipped from his clumsy fingers and he had to awkwardly pick it back up, but saying that he threw it down just seemed so much more dramatic. "I won't let you sacrifice everything you have just for me!"
Kwan then sped out the room, shouting, "Don't worry! I have an idea! I'll fix this!"
Every dressing room and flat of hers was purple, a womanly yet royal color befitting of a queen like her. Lee Mi Hi bit her lip, captivated by the beauty in her mirror. She was so gorgeous. She was so sexy. She stood for women empowerment and being open about sexuality. She kissed her reflection. Such a revolutionary. Such a movement she was starting with her face, breasts, hips, and legs. She could admit she didn't have too much butt, but when you could work everything else something like that didn't really matter. She smiled at herself.
"Oh, it's your time to shine now!" she said, spinning. "Bye, bye, pest! Hello, hot little me!" She shook her stuff, dancing and winking at her reflection when a knock came to her door. The young siren winced at the unexpected noise.
"Coming!" she groaned, going to the door and opening it to see Choi Kwan. She gulped as he barged in. "Oh… it's you." She slammed the door to her dressing room closed. "Cheri's boy-toy."
"Lee Mi Hi," he said, immediately getting to his knees and bowing down. "Please stop with these rumors!"
She crossed her arms and threw her head back in laughter. "Who do you think you are?" she chortled. "Cheri's plaything asking me to put a stop to my spike in popularity? Hilarious!"
"Please!" Kwan cried. "You have to! Please!"
"I have to?" Mi Hi repeated, disgusted. "What do you think gives you the right to say something like that to me?"
Kwan sat up and sighed. "I understand that Cheri is your rival, but… winning this way, doesn't it feel pathetic?" he glared up at the Mi Hi.
"What?" she snapped, returning the evil look.
"With your own skill and voice! Wouldn't you rather win that way?" Kwan assured her, starting to smile. "You're just as lovely as Cheri and you have plenty of charisma and fans! They all like you as you are! Not because they don't like Cheri!" He stood up and held the girl's hand. "Your recognition shouldn't be from your competition not being chosen, but for people wanting to pick you!"
Kwan's eyes glimmered with determination. His hand felt warm and just a little sweaty. It was doing something to her. Her heart sped up as he stared into her, not at her. Why did she suddenly feel embarrassed? Why did she suddenly feel overwhelmed? He was nothing more than a glasses-wearing geek with an affinity for that puritan, Cheri. He wasn't anything other than a sloppy dork who knew little about the game of the idol industry.
"Don't touch me!" she yowled, pushing him away, accidentally smacking the off his spectacles. He glowered at her with his bare face as she told herself that he was just an idiotic loser with… potential. Promptly, she turned from him, hoping that he couldn't see her blushing.
"Fine!" she said. "I'll back off with the rumors…"
"Yes!" Kwan cheered, reaching for his glasses only to have Mi Hi stomp on them, the lenses crushed to bits. "What the hell?"
"Under one condition!" she cackled. Kwan could've sworn she was wearing devil horns and that there had been a lightning flash behind her…
"Perfect!" she said, stepping back and looking at him.
The fly, hip clothing. The cleanly styled hair. The contacts. The naturally good looks that had been previously spoiled by his hideous tastes and nerdy slacker style. No… now he was model talent due to his height and Mi Hi's adjustments.
Observing himself in the mirror, indifferent to the improvements she made, Kwan asked, "Is this what you wanted?"
"Yes," Mi Hi answered from a couch with her legs crossed and drink in her hand. She took a sip from a straw and exhaled with satisfaction. "You look gorgeous! Good enough to be an idol yourself~"
"And how long am I supposed to do this?"
"Until I say I don't want you anymore." Another sip. "But 'til then… you're mine."
Oh, every element of her was faultless, except for that butt thing of course, but she didn't count that. She loved her own confidence, features, and brains. God, she learned fast in the most convenient of ways. As she strut down the halls, thighs stealing the attention of all the men and her expression daring them to look, she could feel her pride boiling over. Behind her, like a dog, was Cheri's man – renovated to her liking and under her control. The delight was overflowing. Not to mention she looked damn sexy in that short leather romper with knee-high boots. She truly, truly loved herself.
"Mr. Kwan?" Cheri said, prancing down the hall to her friend. She donned a fluffy pink dress with large buttons and frills. Her hair was in perfectly bouncy curls and her shoes were white mary-janes. "What are you doing with Ms. Witch?"
Kwan opened his mouth to say something, but Mi Hi barked, "Don't speak!" she smirked at her foe. "He's with me now."
"What are you talking about, Ms. Ahjumma?"
"I mean, he listens to me as my personal servant, brat!"
"Could you please keep your BDSM fetish to yourself, Ms. Easy?"
"How about you keep your mouth shut, goody-two-shoes!"
"Shouldn't you do the same with your legs, Ms. Dirty dancing?"
"Maybe if you had moves like mine, people wouldn't think your 12, you pedophile's wet dream!"
"Maybe if I had moves like yours, people would think I'm at try-hard like you, Ms. Sleaze!"
"You want to go, child?"
"Gladly, Ms. Cougar!"
The two growled at each other, glaring harshly. Kwan stepped in between them.
"Come on," he said. "Don't fight like this. You're both—"
"Stay out of this!" The girls snarled simultaneously.
"O-okay," Kwan whimpered, backing away quietly, fear in his voice.
"Listen," Mi Hi hissed. "I—"
"Ms. Lee Mi Hi!" A worker at the studio called. "You're up!"
Mi Hi grinned before marching away with Kwan in tow. "Bye, baby!" she crooned to Cheri accompanied with a mocking wave.
"Mr. Kwan!" Cheri called out after him with no response. "Mr. Kwan!"
"That bitch!" Jung-Hwa howled, ripping up a piece of paper handed to him by Dae-Hyun as they walked out the building. "I hate her!"
Dae-Hyun handed him more paper. "I know, I know. Let it out."
Jung-Hwa tore it apart with his teeth, fuming with rage. "She's such a vengeful, heartless…. heartless… heartless…" he said over and over, trying to think of the word to fit Mi Hi.
"Hag?" Dae-Hyun suggested.
"Yeah!" Jung-Hwa agreed, getting into his car while Dae-Hyun got into the driver's seat. "She's a vengeful and heartless hag! Right after Kwan comes back, she…" He grunts out of pure fury and slams on dashboard.
Before pulling out, Dae-Hyun gazes at the livid Jung-Hwa and asks, "To get so depressed when he left and so worked up about Mi Hi taking him… you're not… you're not in love with Choi Kwan, are you?"
Jung-Hwa's face flushed like never before. For a second, he couldn't speak.
When he finally found his voice, he shouted, "Wh-what?" He rolled his eyes, shaking his head. "You're crazy!" he sputtered. "Him? No way! I mean…"
His expression softened. "I guess I could see why Mi Hi would want someone like him. Once you remove the dorkiness, he is pretty good looking, huh?" he laughed. "And it's not like he's perverted or anything, he's just super dumb but he is compassionate and always means well. Not to mention he so honestly says what he's thinking. He's definitely a moron, right? Even still, he's caring and protective and funny – though mostly without meaning to be, haha. Oh, and he takes care of those close to him and supports them wholeheartedly. I guess… I guess if Lee Mi Hi likes guys like that then she scored big time, but for me? No way! If I had to date a dude, it surely wouldn't be a lame-o like Choi Kwan!"
Dae-Hyun 's brow went flat in a blank expression that read "Yeah, right." Jung-Hwa totally got this message and growled, "Shut up and just take me home!" causing Dae-Hyun to click his tongue and sigh.
"What ever you say…"
Kwan hated it. He was a recording studio virgin and had been looking forward to going with Cheri for the first time, but now breaking in that experience had been sullied by Mi Hi. She forced him to tag along as she recorded a verse for a song in which she was going to be featured.
"Oppa~ bring me some water~" she whined cutely from behind the glass of the live room.
In the control room, Kwan rolled his eyes and got up.
"You her boyfriend?" the producer asked, sitting at the audio mixer.
"No," Kwan retorted bitterly. He slammed the door on his way out to fetch Mi Hi her beverage like the dog he was. It took everything in his power not to punch something out of pure vehemence.
They sat across from one another in the back of a van transporting them to the site of a talk show in which several female singers and a few girl groups were appearing called "Real Curves." Only a few episodes of the show had aired, so it wasn't extremely well-known yet, but the episode they were shooting today would surely be a hit. She took in his fine features like his jaw line and slight muscle.
"How'd you get so tan?" Mi Hi asked.
"I used to live in the country," Kwan said, a bit taken aback by Mi Hi seemingly attempting to get to know something about him. "So I did a lot of outside work. I liked it, so I've been doing that kind of job all my life until now."
"You'd think a geek like you'd be completely pale from staying inside all day."
Oh, she just wanted to insult him.
She glanced up and down. "The tan… it suits you."
Kwan blinked. A compliment? From Lee Mi Hi? That's not towards herself? Call the press, it's the news story of the ages! Honestly, even Mi Hi shocked herself. She couldn't believe she had admitted that out loud.
"How do I look, oppa?" Mi Hi asked in her dressing room, spinning in her short overalls, black shirt with a dark pink broken heart, and black sneakers. Her hair was curled in certain places.
"Surprisingly cute," Kwan confessed. "I thought that wasn't your style?"
Mi Hi scoffed, turning back to apply her eyeliner so that he wouldn't see her pink face. "I can't stick to one concept or people'll get bored with me like their getting bored of that naïve Cheri." Kwan opened his mouth to say something but was disrupted by Mi Hi saying, "Besides, I thought you like the cute look more anyways."
"Yeah, but what do I have to—"
"Shut up and go get me a snack. I have a sweet tooth."
With a groan, Kwan obliged to her demand, standing and leaving out the room. Mi Hi lost herself, clutching onto the counter of her vanity mirror.
"What the hell is happening to me?" she growled. "What's with that idiot's effect on me?"
"Ms. Lee Mi Hi!" Cheri barked, barging into the horrendously purple room. "I wish to speak with you."
Cheri closed the door behind her, standing there in her adorably oversized off the shoulder sweater, red shorts, and lacy slip-ons. Her hair was pinned up in wavy pigtails. So cute she could kill. Mi Hi despised it. Why did men like that? What about her looking like a kid did Kwan find attractive?
"Wish granted, princess," Mi Hi shot back nastily.
"Weird. You're not dressed like a total tart," Cheri noted.
"And you don't you have your man on your arm like a total whore."
"Whore? Who wears hooker boots every performance?"
"Oh, honey, you couldn't dream of dressing the way I do!"
"Yeah, I couldn't dream of it because it'd be a nightmare!"
They huffed, glaring ruthlessly at each other. Cheri stuck her hand out and looked to the ceiling.
"Whatever," she groaned. "Fighting isn't why I came to talk with you."
"Then why did you?" Mi Hi said. "Whenever we're in the same vicinity that's all we do."
"I want you to release Choi Kwan from your servitude," Cheri requested.
"What? For free?" She leaned into her mirror and scrubbed some blush onto her cheeks. "No, you're going to have to trade me something, honey."
"Why do you even want him? He's a loser with a dead-end job at a restaurant in the middle of a boring, sleeping city with all of his hobbies surrounding me. He's got no future, no special qualities, nothing! What do you want with him?"
"If that's what you think of him then what is it you want?" Mi Hi shouted, turning to Cheri. "This is why you frustrate me so much! You're not even on my level and men like you! Inconsiderate, rude, immature you! The only reason you want him is because I have him!"
"Wasn't it the same for you?"
"It was!" She paused, realizing what she had just said. "Yeah," she said more confidently. "Yeah, originally it was that way; I just wanted what you had, but now… Now I see that he's idol material. I'm keeping him so get out!"
Cheri's breathed heavily before rushing over to the door, hollering, "Goodbye then, Ms. Shrew!"
"You're just jealous because you're flat-chested with no shape."
"You're just jealous because you're drying out early!"
"Uhg… you little prude!"
With that, Cheri shut the door rather loudly only to see Park Bae from JUPiTER.
"Mr. Bae," Cheri gasped. "What are you doing here? Today's filming has an all-female cast."
"I'm just here to cheer on a friend," he said, grasping onto her hand and planting a solid kiss. "I didn't expect to run into my lovely Cheri~"
Cheri pulled her hand away. "You almost make me as sick as that Ms. Mi Hi."
"That's what I love about you, Cheri, so honest," Bae replied laughingly.
Cheri made a sound of disgust, striding off. "Not honest enough, obviously."
Bae chuckled before slipping into Mi Hi's room.
"Kwan oppa?" she called out only to see her good buddy, JUPiTER's N. SPiRE. "Oh, it's you."
"Disappointed?" he snickered.
"Shut your mouth. What's up?"
"I heard everything."
"So you know that I still have him?"
"Yes," he brushed his hand against her cheek. "Good job."
"What are some of the issues with Women's Rights today?" the hostess asked.
A girl group answered then it was Mi Hi's turn.
"I actually think it's other women," she said. Cheri hoped no one noticed the way she cringed every time Mi Hi spoke. "Women attacking other women only gives men the idea that they can treat women the same way. Calling a girl a rude name isn't going to make you more well-liked or less of that name yourself, so I want to advise all little girls that before they open their mouths to say something rude, they should think of who they really want to call that name, the other woman or themselves?"
The hostess and audience clapped lightly. "Good answer," she said. "And Cheri? Your thoughts?"
"I think it's other women in a certain sense too," Cheri said. Mi Hi begged the gods that no one noticed the way she cringed every time Cheri spoke. "When girls see other women becoming successful it's a shame that they feel the need to put the successful women down in order to be successful themselves. They should be happy for those doing well rather than use their bodies or sexuality just to get more attention."
A larger clap for Cheri making a fire light in Mi Hi. The hostess smiles greatly. "Wonderful response. Ahn Su—"
"May I add on to my answer?" Mi Hi piped up.
Whispers lit up in the room. The hostess appeared a bit confused at first, but eventually said, "Uh, yes, um, go ahead."
"I believe that women's sexuality is something that is looked down upon today and a part of what keeps women oppressed. To be allowed to be more open about our bodies is the only way to bring about true equality."
An even larger applause. The hostess nodded. "Ah, yes, yes, I would have to agree. So, Ahn Sun—"
"Um, may I reply?" Cheri said raising her hand. More whispers. With an elevated eyebrow, the hostess gave her the okay.
"I'm all for women empowerment, but I don't think sexuality is the way to go about it. Equality is all about respect and respect doesn't come from flashing your assets around. It comes being refined and modest."
"It is also that image of women," Mi Hi jumped in. "That causes men to see us as weak!"
"Modesty isn't necessarily a weakness. Women should have some delicacy to them otherwise their encouraging men wanting them like objects!"
"Traditional views like that keep conservative Korea from progressing!"
"And it's perverted new age views that threaten to taint it!"
"Are you calling my opinions perverted?"
"You basically called mine close-minded!"
"And where did I say that, little girl?"
"Ladies, ladies!" The hostess bellowed, silencing the argument. "This is not what we came here to do. If you want to debate - not now, not here. After the show you are free to exchange ideas, but you are taking up other's guest's chances to express themselves. It is extremely rude and I will not be tolerating this behavior."
Cheri and Mi Hi looked to each other before bowing to the hostess and giving a sincere, "I'm sorry."
Yoon Yun leaned against the window of the car, listening to its soft whirr as it puttered down the road, Dae-Hyun at the wheel.
"Do you think Kwan is idol material?" she asked out of the blue.
Dae-Hyun took a moment to think then nodded. "Yeah, I would say so. Especially with the way Mi Hi has done him up."
After a few seconds, Yun smiled and she couldn't stop.
"Essem Entertainment has called a sudden press conference!" a reporter exclaimed into her mic as correspondents and cameramen from all different news stations flooded the area.
A stage was set up. On top of it was a platform reading "S.M. Ent." and a microphone attached to its top.
"They say it has to do with Cheri!" "Probably about those rumors on the mystery guy?" "Are they going to reveal him?" "So they really are dating?"
Words and theories flew through the air, no one quite sure what was going to happen.
"What is all this about, Cheri?" Kwan asked backstage.
"We're going to reveal you," Cheri stated simply, making sure that his tie was straight and his hair neat.
"What? No! Are you crazy?" he shouted, trying to escape, but Cheri stopped him.
"Don't worry, it'll be fine!" she assured, urging him to go out to the cameras.
"Are you just going to let Mi Hi win?" he hollered.
She leaned up and put her arms around his neck in a genuine hug. "You're going to have to learn fast that in this industry, you can't concentrate on winning and losing a popularity game. You have to have the most fun you can or you'll never 'win' anything!" She released him from her hold and giggled. "You look so cool right now! Such idol material!"
Kwan's eyes widened. She was so… different. Usually Cheri was abrasive, only letting him see the real her to extent, but he felt like in that moment, she was so vulnerable. He was seeing a special part of her. That laugh. That smile. It was just for him.
"Now go out there, you dumbass!" she yelled, kicking him through the curtain separating them from backstage and the sea of journalists.
Immediately, flashes and hollers from every side. An ambush of attention.
"He's really cute!" some exclaimed. "Is he the man from the photos?" "So handsome! An actor?"
Kwan had to cover his eyes just to see and walk to the podium. He stood there quietly as the flashes died down. They were all waiting… waiting on him. To speak. But what was he supposed to say?
What is this press conference all about? Are they really going to introduce the world to Choi Kwan, Cheri's secret "boyfriend?" Had Cheri gone insane? Find out in Disc Two!
End of Track Six!
End of Disc One!